As homeschooling parents, how we see or view something as important will affect how our kids are exposed to that. I am strong in language and the humanities, and not so much the sciences. This is reflected in our kids because I’m the one who has spent the most time with them. If Pete was homeschooling them then they would have been exposed to more science. Not to say that they would have been strong that way, because you also have your kids own bents come into play, but they would have been exposed to more.
What is your perspective on art and craft? How you view this will affect how your children are exposed to creativity. In our adult world, art and craft are considered hobbies, and we don’t have a great deal of time for our hobbies, so we can take that attitude into our children’s lives and not give them time for creative expression. We can also be limited because we don’t see ourselves as very creative so we don’t know what to give our kids, or how to encourage them, so we just don’t.
I see giving our kids art experiences is an important part of their development. I believe that we have been created in God’s image – which means we reflect the different characteristics of God. God is Creator – and we have been given the ability to create from the resources we have at hand. We have been placed in a world where God has used colour, shape, movement to create beauty – and we have been created with the abilities to not only appreciate (with our senses) that but also reflect that in our own works. I want to help my children be able to use every gift and ability they have been given; I want to educate (teach and train) the whole child, and this includes creativity.
It is easy to be cynical and see the primary school art lessons (which we are all familiar with) as just time fillers. Or we think only those with arty passions are able to teach art. Or we struggle with the mess. But drawing, painting, making stuff are activities that are packed with important learning lessons for our kids. They learn things like:
- How to make decisions and solve problems (will I use this? Or will I use that? Will I do it this way? Or that?)
- The ability to take what they see around them, think about it and recreate or interpret it
- The ability to reflect on their work and self-evaluate (I like this, I don’t like this)
- The confidence to put themselves and their work out there for others to assess as they show their parents and others their efforts (And a big lesson here for parents is to tred respectfully and be encouraging!)
- Fine motor skills – holding pencil, paint brush, working with play-dough and glue all give opportunity, fun opportunity, for our kids to use their fingers and hand-eye co-ordination
- The opportunity to try new things, and to try again when they don’t work
- An alternative way to communicate their thoughts and feelings
- They learn that there is more than one way to do something, though they can also learn to follow instructions
- They learn to finish a project and clean up themselves, to be orderly
- Gives them something to do in their ‘free’ time – if they have learnt how to use art products without creating mess, and have learnt how to pack up, and then art is a great use of their free time.
And one other biggie, that is one other aspect that homeschoolers can overlook, is simply that to a child it is fun. We do need to be careful that we don’t fill our children’s lives with ‘worthwhile’ activity giving them no time to simply enjoy colour, shape, mess, noise, energy.
In education speak the purpose of ‘The Arts’ is to help children explore and express ideas, feelings and experiences through their different senses and capabilities. They typically categorise art into three different fields: Visual Arts, Drama, and Music. I think seeing these three categories have helped me to see how some of these aspects are already happening in our family life, like exposure to various music genres and using various materials to make useful or decorative things. But on the flip side, they help me see a gap in the things I could be exposing my kids to like drama and using our bodies to communicate. Seeing these three fields have also helped me see that my kids can and will favour one over the other, and that is okay.
I think it is helpful for us to pause sometimes and ask –What do I believe about this? Why are we doing this? What is the benefit? When we see the reason behind the things that we do, or think we should do, then those reasons give us value for that activity. Once we have a value on something we will push past the difficulties or roadblocks because we now hold this as important.
I believe it is important to help our children grow in every area of their life: Art is one such opportunity to prepare them to use every gift they have, it is important in their physical muscle/co-ordination development, it gives opportunity to grow in their critical thinking and in their character.
Have you considered the importance of art in your homeschool?
While thinking about Art in your Homeschool – you may also like to read Getting over my Mess Phobia